Pakistani army kills senior al Qaeda commander tasked with attacking the West



Adnan G. el Shukrijumah, al Qaeda’s operations chief for North America. Photos from the Rewards for Justice website.

The Pakistani military said it killed Adnan Shukrijumah, a senior al Qaeda leader who was tasked with plotting attacks in North America, during a raid in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. Shukrijumah was a member of al Qaeda’s external operations council and was involved with the 2008 plot to bomb subways in New York City and another plot to detonate fuel pipelines at JFK International Airport.

The Inter-Services Public Relations branch of the Pakistani military announced the death of Shukrijumah in a press release, and said he was killed in a raid in the Shin Warsak area of South Waziristan.

“In an intelligence borne operation, top al Qaeda leader Adnan Al Shukrijumah was killed by [the] Pakistan Army in an early morning raid in Shin Warsak, South Waziristan today,” the ISPR statement, which was obtained by The Long War Journal, said. Additionally, “his accomplice and local facilitator were also killed in the raid.” The ISPR also said a soldier was killed during the raid.

The Shin Warsak area is a known haven for al Qaeda, and is controlled by the Mullah Nazir Group, a Taliban faction that is favored by the Pakistani military and government as it does not seek to attack the Pakistani state. The Mullah Nazir Group does wage jihad in Afghanistan and shelter members of al Qaeda and other local and international terrorist groups.

The US has launched four drone strikes against al Qaeda in Shin Warzak since December 2008. In late 2012, the US killed two mid-level al Qaeda commanders, Abdul Rehman al Zaman Yemeni and Sheikh Abdul Bari, in two separate strikes. [See LWJ reports, Al Qaeda commander thought killed in South Waziristan drone strike, and US drones kill 3 ‘militants’ in 1st strike in Pakistan in more than a month.]

Shukrijumah was born in Saudi Arabia and lived in the US for years. He attended a mosque in Florida where he mixed with radicals. At some point, Shukrijumah traveled to Afghanistan where he allegedly received training in al Qaeda’s camps and was groomed by senior al Qaeda leaders for future missions. In 2003, FBI and US intelligence officials told the press that Shukrijumah then came back to the US to coordinate terrorist attacks on American soil after Sept. 11, 2001. He was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda sleeper agent tied to 2009 NYC subway plot.]

Since 2003, Shukrijumah has been one of the most wanted al Qaeda terrorists in the world. On March 20, 2003, the FBI released a “Be on the Lookout” alert for Shukrijumah (a.k.a. Jafar al Tayyar, or Jafar “the Pilot”). In 2010, the US State Department’s Rewards For Justice program offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture and prosecution, putting him in the upper tier of wanted al Qaeda leaders.

Shukrijumah has been identified as being a member of al Qaeda’s external operations council and its operations chief for North America.

He is the second member of al Qaeda’s external operations council to have been killed this fall. On Oct. 13, jihadists reported the death of Ahmed Abdulrahman Sihab Ahmed Sihab, who is also known as Abdulrahman al Sharqi. Sihab, a wanted Bahraini citizen who was on the US list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, is thought to have been killed in a drone strike in Pakistan or Afghanistan. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda external operations leader reported killed .]

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • KaneKaizer says:

    If it’s confirmed then it’s certainly good news. Unfortunately, coming nearly six months after Pakistan’s “Zarb-e-Azb” offensive was launched, it doesn’t seem likely that HVTs being taken down will become a trend over there, though I really hope that I’m wrong. It just doesn’t seem like the Pak military is capable of dealing the kind of damage to the Taliban that they need to, despite their numbers and firepower.

  • m3fd2002 says:

    If confirmed, it would be a positive development.

  • mint says:

    If they did must have been accidental. They must not have known who they killed or just ran out his usefulness.

  • David says:

    Let’s see if they give him a state funeral.

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    My sources tell me that he was ran over by a Pak military vehicle as it was backing up at a high rate of speed. Reportedly, the driver said he did not see him. According to one source, when told what he had done, the driver said, “Shu(c)ks. It is unclear whether his reaction was a question or a comment.

  • Arjuna says:

    I think the Paks did this operation Adnan on purpose since they went in heavy with two Apaches for support but I bet we led them to the prize.
    Drugeon, Shukri, Zawahiri’s emissary in Turkey, now this AQIS heavy Farooq, a real old school terrorist. Jihadi season is open. Congratulations to the hunters. We must be getting closer to Doctor Z.,0,5390093.story

  • Skip Patel says:

    Adnan Shukrijumah Killed, or Maybe Not!

  • Devendra says:

    Pakis probably killed him by mistake. So, don’t hold your breath that there will be others like him who will be killed in the Paki military action in future.


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